tv [untitled] June 27, 2013 4:00pm-4:31pm PDT
>> hello, welcome to meet your district supervisor. i'm linda melkonian and we're here with supervisor london breed from district 5 which includes the inner sunset, haight/ashbury, lower hate, japantown and part of hayes valley. she was one of two supervisors in 2012. we'll talk to her about the tougher issues facing the city. welcome, supervisor. thank you for joining us today. >> thank you for having me. >> let's start by talking a little about your background, where you grew up, went to school and what of jobs you've had in the past. >> i grew up in the heart of the western addition, i grew up in public housing. my grandmother raised me and my brothers and i went to public schools here in the city. ended up at u.c. davis and graduated and immediately returned back to the community and started working for the mayor's office of neighborhood services and worked on treasure island and eventually became the executive director of the
african-american art and culture complex located in the western addition community, a place that i participated in programs in the arts as a kid. and, so, it was really an honor to be able to work directly in the community to impact so many lives. and i really thoroughly enjoy that experience. >> you lived most of your life in san francisco. why did you choose to live in the city? >> i chose because it's my home. it's just a place i love the most. i pretty much only lived outside the city when i went to college, and i came home almost every weekend on the greyhound bus. i just love san francisco. it's an amazing place. it's a beautiful city. it's nothing like coming across that bridge and seeing the city and feeling like, i'm home. or coming from any part of anywhere, whether you're on a plane, whether you're on a bus, whether you're in a car, just to see the skyline of the city, it's just always made me feel at peace. and, so, i can't imagine myself living anyplace else.
>> what motivated you to get involved in politics? >> well, as i said, i grew up in public housing and i experienced a lot of sad times, as some people are still experiencing. whether it's crime and violence, issues of despair, issues of hopelessness. i mean, that still continues to plague many of our public housing residents today. and, so, it's really challenging when this is the way that i pretty much spent most of my life. and when i think about the challenges people are still going through, i know that the only way to make changes to those type of issues is to actually be a part of the decision making body of this city. and, so, what motivated me in the past has always been about making sure that i wasn't the only one that had an incredible opportunity to participate in the city, to have a great life in the city. i felt like there were too many
of my peers that should have had the same opportunity. and, so, it's a big reason why i decided to participate in politics. >> you mentioned you were the executive director of the african-american arts and culture complex. how has that experience as well as the experience of serving on two commissions prepared you for the board of supervisors? >> well, i did serve on the san francisco redevelopment agency commission and the fire commission, and i was really fortunate to run this great center. and all of those experiences, running a nonprofit, being on a commission, working for the city, responding to constituents, doing the kinds of things that many folks are doing every single day to make our city better, i mean, i don't see a better preparation than that for becoming a city supervisor. the nonprofit world is a very challenging community to work in because of the fund-raising involved, because of the needs for such great programs. so, to be in the middle of that and to advocate for an incredible community asset, to
work with city departments, to obtain funding, i mean, the list goes on and on. so, over the years i've been fortunate to develop some incredible relationships with city department heads and other city commissioners who helped me to do some of the great work i've been able to do in the community. so, it's somewhat of a natural progression and i think all of that entails -- really helped me to be -- it's going to help me in my role as supervisor and it help me to actually get here. >> district 5 race for supervisor was an especially eventful one this time around. what did you learn amidst all that controversy and all that competition? >> i think that what i learned is that we have an incredible district of people who can see what's genuine, who can see when someone really cares and has the heart for the community. and i think that was demonstrated in who they decided to elect. regardless of personalitieses or ideology, or what have you, people know when you really
care. and i think that came across in my campaign. so, what i learned is to respect the voters and respect how they feel about candidates, whether it's me or anyone else. i want to make sure that they are given the options and they are able to make the choice that they choose. and that once the election is over, we move on and do what we need to do to make our city better. >> where do you place yourself on the political spectrum? are you more progressive, centrist or on the conservative side? >> that's a really challenging question because, i mean, throughout the campaign i made sure that i didn't define myself as either because i think that what it does is in a lot of ways it divides our city. i think clearly when you have a desire to run, you have a desire to serve. you really care about what happens in san francisco. you just have a different way in which you believe we should go about doing that. and i just think that i don't necessarily see myself in one particular category because i
have different feelings about different situations based on my various experiences of growing up in the city. and, so, my, my, my commitment to san francisco trumps any ideaology i might have. i mean, i'm going to need to make decisions that impact people's lives so i have to make sure that i'm being responsible in those decisions. i can't let ideology get in the way of that. >> i think the city is always dealing with complicated issues as you mentioned. what do you feel are some of the biggest issues facing san francisco right now? >> i think there are a few big issues, but in particular, my priority is public housing. the fact that it's a neglected community is really a problem for me. the fact that they're still dealing with rodent infestation and some of the challenges of job opportunities. i think this city is a wealthy city. we spend a lot of money on social services in our city, but why are these social services not impacting people's lives in the way that it's changing people's lives for the better?
so, i want to make sure that we work with residents and we work to help them grow within public housing and to not be priced out of the city as a result. i think that's one of the big issues. the other issue is connecting people to job opportunities, long-term employment, stable employment, employment that gives people dignity, that gives them pride. i mean, everyone wants to take care of their family. and sadly, people are sometimes pushed into a life of crime because that's the easy route to obtaining money. i mean, it was really easy for me as a kid to choose to sell drugs because everyone around me was selling drugs. wasn't easy for me to get a job because i didn't have a lot of examples of people working other than my grandmother who was working as a maid, or other folks i saw working at the grocery store. for me, i felt like well, drugs is easier, you can easily go out on the corner and stand and sell drugs. but luckily, because of the mayor's youth employment and training program, i got a job
at age 14, started work at the family school, working with some incredible people and because of that opportunity i'm here today. and i think we need to make these opportunities more readily available to folks in public housing. >> you mentioned working on the redevelopment commission for five years. now that the state has eliminated redevelopment agency, do you think the mayor and the board of supervisors is doing enough to serve the city's housing needs? >> well, i think you can never do enough. there are still a lot of folks who are homeless. but i do think that san francisco is leading the way to innovative policies that can really help change things for the better post redevelopment. i think the affordable housing trust fund is a step in the right direction. and it's something that no one else is doing all over the state. i think that the fact that san francisco is so committed to affordable housing, we already had resources where we were invested in affordable housing in the city, but more
importantly, we're looking at revamping public housing and how that fits into the bigger picture of affordable housing long term for san francisco. we're looking at public-private partnerships. i just think san francisco is really leading the way. and could we do enough? you know, you can never do enough until everyone has a decent, clean, respectable place to live. but i think san francisco is clearly leading the way to that. >> oftentimes city issues and district issues are not one and the same. what are some of the biggest issues you feel are impacting your district? >> well, the challenges of homelessness, of folks that are in the kind of upper haight community, making sure that we are providing resources to this population, more aggressively than we have, making sure that we are cracking down on folks who might be breaking the law and making it really challenging for not just other homeless people, but for folks who live in the community,
making sure they're activating that area so families feel safe being a part of that community. i think that's a huge challenge. the other challenge, one that i dealt with even before i became supervisor, are the access to job opportunities, access to long-term job opportunities, and how do we prepare people who have never worked a job before in their entire lives for a long-term job opportunity? what does it mean to show up on time? what does it mean to keep your pants pulled up and take off your hat and not talk back to your boss? what does all that mean? i think what we have done as a city is focus too much on, okay, where the opportunities, local hire, which are all great programs, but the part that's missing is how do we get people prepared and how do we keep them employed. what is the long-term plan of job opportunities in san francisco look like for local san franciscans. so, i think those are probably two of the most pressing issues. and the city overall of course is housing and it's one that
we've all taken a lot of steps to try and deal with. >> just reese entitlesly enacted a two-year budget. it seems the city is always dealing with a lot of complicated issues whether or not to raise fees and taxes and where to make cuts. how would you approach these tough choices? >> well, fortunately i've been in the nonprofit world. i've been actively engaged in the community. i know the programs that are actually effective in serving residents. i understand what the need is from firsthand experience. and, so, i just would want to make sure that i'm paying very close attention to detail, knowing exactly what these programs provide, knowing exactly what city department, where is the wasteful spending, how we can cutback so we can make sure we are funding the programs and the departments that need the money the most. so, it's going to be a really delicate balance. i know i have a really challenging job ahead of me, but fortunately there are other supervisors on the budget committee that also have firsthand experience.
so, i think it's going to be a tough budget process, but i think working together and looking at everything, will it be visits, visits to programs, digging deep into folk's budget and talking to their -- the people that they serve and a number of other things. it's going to take a well rounded approach at making these kinds of decision. and, so, i'm up for the challenge. >> speaking of well rounded approaches, do you attempt to balance the needs of the district versus the needs of the city as a whole? >> for me that's easy because san francisco, the entire city is my home. i grew up here. i know -- i went to galileo in the marina, hung out at bayview hunters point, my family lives all over the city. i mean, i can't do something that positively impacts district 5, but also negatively impacts san francisco as a whole. so, whatever decisions i make, i mean, it's a no-brainer. i have to make sure that it's going to positively impact the city as a whole and that's just
how i view every decision that i make through that particular lens. >> let's talk a little about your district in particular. what do you hear about transportation from your constituents? is there adequate muni service? >> well, it's funny that you mention muni. [laughter] >> and let me just say this. as someone who -- i mean, we caught muni -- when i was growing up in the city, that's how you got around. and there were some real problems with muni. i'm talking about just -- i mean, the buses were always dirty. they were always packed. there was just always some challenges and the city is growing clearly. and we need to look at all modes of transportation and how we allow people to move around the city safely. and part of that is making sure that muni is running well. and i know in particular the m-judah has been a real challenge. and we have come very close to securing revenue for an additional in judah train as well as looking at express
options and place where the most heavily used bus stops are. ~ so, looking at express trains and other alternatives to make sure that we're moving people around in a more efficient way, so that they feel comfortable with using public transportation as their source of transportation. i think everyone in this city is prepared to bike, to use public transportation, to walk, to ride share, but we have to make it a lot more convenient for people. and it's going to be an ongoing improvement process because we're building more housing units. we're bringing more people into the city for job opportunities. but we're not increasing the needs around public transportation and transportation in general as significantly as we are doing those other things. so, we're going to have to take a really hard look at our priorities around transportation and really aggressively deal with those things. >> and speaking of safety, what do you hear about crime in your district? and are you happy with what the police department is doing and how the city is dealing with crime?
>> well, fortunately, because of the new academy classes, we actually got a number of additional officers in district 5. that has definitely had -- it's had a big impact on the district. i mean, we are way past the point of what we used to be, and that is a place where homicides were happening regularly. sometimes daily, sometimes weekly. and sadly, we've lost a lot of young people not only to that sort of violence, but to the criminal justice system. and it's a different district. and now we're dealing with iphone thefts and other quality of life issues, home invasions and things like that. and i think with the additional police officers and also the foot patrols and some of the things that seem to be happening, especially in the high-crime areas like the lower haight, it's really changed things. it's more of a deterrent when
you see police officers walking around, engaged with residents, engaged with business owners. it really helps to change the environment overall. so, yes, we do have issues of crime just like any part -- any other part of the city. i'm just really happy that it's not what it used to be and i think it's a manageable thing. and we just have to deal with it more and add some more academy classes, but also look at programs like s.f. faith which helps people learn to take care of themselves and as neighbors. we have to make sure we're providing opportunities to the perpetrators of these crimes and making sure, of course, we're prosecuting people who are committing crimes. but more importantly, that we provide these opportunities before they get to the point where they are committing crimes. >> you mentioned the issue of homelessness as a big issue in your district. how will you deal with the folks that hang out on haight street and the issue of homelessness? >> well, i think that's a real -- it's a city-wide issue and i think part of what we have to
do is work together to deal with it, just like public safety. it's a work in progress. it's not something that you fix and you move on. it's something that you continue to work with. i mean, san francisco is an attractive place to people in general, so, we are going to get folks from all over, homeless, nonhomeless, and i think part of the balance is making sure that social service agencies that provide support to homeless individuals are available, that they have the resources they need, but they're held accountable to working and talking to folks who are interested in services. and the other issue is that, you know, we do have, sadly, an increase in crime in the area as a result of an increase in the homeless population. and, so, having a police presence, which we've had, park station has been really active in not only being out there and enforcing the law, but doing what police are not required to do, offering opportunities for services. and, so, i think san francisco is an incredibly compassionate city and i think our police
department has been compassionate. i think our fire department has been compassionate. but also we have to make sure that we are really aggressively making sure that folks are not breaking the law in terms of selling drugs, in terms of using drugs, in terms of just the kinds of things that happen when you break the law. i mean, people who are hanging out, they're just hanging out. there's nothing wrong with hanging out. i hung out a lot. kids hang out. young people hang out. homeless people hang out. the question is when someone makes it more than just hanging out and it messes it up for everyone else. and, so, we have to make sure the city that we deal with those things appropriately, but we also offer alternatives so that we're not just pushing the homeless issue from one place to the next, but we're actually making sure we're taking care of people and offering them alternatives. so, it's going to be a challenging issue and an ongoing issue and one that i'm committed to working with the mayor's office to help address and manage.
>> what are your thoughts on the city's economic development? do you think we're on the right track? >> i think we're on the right track, but i think that unfortunately it allows the rich to get richer and it doesn't have a place for the middle class and the poor in our city. and i think that part of what we have to do as a city when people are interested in economic development opportunities in our city, we need to be a part of our city. and it's not just about giving out free gifts or giving out free turkeys or giving out free anything. it's about what type of job opportunities, what type of internships, what type of commitment are you going to have to the most vulnerable residents of our city? how are we going to impact lives? you're basically -- this is a great economic opportunity maybe for you and the city, but how does this directly impact residents of the city? so, i think we have to do a better job in making those connections. >> let's talk a little about the issue of sports, the role of sports in the city's
economic future. are you supportive of the plans for the new warriors stadium? >> i'm supportive of a plan that includes the residents of this city. specifically with the warriors stadium, i think it could be a great opportunity for san francisco, but i want to make sure that in the agreement that there are some requirements that make sure that people are not just employed for construction opportunities. they're employed for management opportunities, they're employed for concession opportunities, they're employed with the warriors team. i mean, there's a whole 'nother franchise of opportunities that exist as a result of this particular team. and who are they going after? what folks are they mentoring, or what -- who are the people that are going to be long-time working with the establishment? so, i'm more interested in what the long-term relationship is between the warriors and the community ~ and not just we're going to build a stadium, we're
going to be here, we're going to do our thing and everyone is going to go home. what does this mean long term and how do the residents benefit and how are they connected to this great opportunity? so -- >> to a degree, do you feel the city should subsidize the team? >> i don't see the city subsidizing the team from my speaker speculative from what i've seen in terms of the deal other than potentially the land which they will pay for eventually, maybe not the entire amount. but i don't think there are any plans for the city to give up anything financially from my perspective. other than potentially land that wasn't going to be used in the first place. but i appreciate the fact that the warriors are focusing on private fund-raisers and i prefer that they stick to that. i don't think the city should be -- with the situation we're in now, we should be really investing in that and the warriors seem to have a -- seem to be committed to privately fund-raising for it and i'm
happy that they're stepping up to do that. >> exciting change. >> yes. >> well, we're almost out of time, but are there any other issues that concern you that we haven't discussed or anything that you plan to concentrate on as your term as supervisor? >> i think one of the things that i really want to concentrate on is making sure that we are collaborating more because as a city we're growing, resources are being stretched thin. and it's going to be important that organizations collaborate, city departments collaborate, that we don't just operate in our own little departments and our own little sections of the city, but how do we come together to make sure that, for example, upper haight, a lot of great businesses, a lot of great opportunities for internships for young people to grow and work in these particular businesses. so, my goal as supervisor is to begin the process of connecting people so that, you know, we have folks who are living in the community, working in the community, growing in the
community, and supporting one another. it's one of the things i care about most and i'm really looking forward to bringing people together as a survivor. >> great. it looks like we're out of time so we're going to have to wrap up. but thank you so much for joining us today on sfgovttv meet your supervisor. >> thank you for talking to me. >> we were talk to london breed from district 5. watch for the next episode of meet your supervisor when we'll be back with another one of our city supervisors. for sfgov tv, i'm linda melkonian. ♪ ♪ i'm derek, i'm hyungry, and
ready to eat. these vendors offer a variety of the streets near you. these mobile restaurants are serving up original, creative and unusual combinations. you can grab something simple like a grilled cheese sandwich or something unique like curry. we areher here in the average eight -- upper haight. you will be competing in the quick buy food challenge. an appetizer and if you are the winner you will get the title of the quitck bite "chompion."
i am here with matt cohen, from off the grid. >> we assembled trucks and put them into a really unique heurban settings. >> what inspired you to start off the grid? >> i was helping people lodge mobile food trucks. the work asking for what can we get -- part together? we started our first location and then from there we expanded locations. >> why do think food trucks have grown? >> i have gotten popular because the high cost of starting a brick and mortar or strong, the rise of social media, trucks can be easily located, and food trucks to offer a unique outdoor
experience that is not easily replaced by any of their setting any worlwhere else in san franc. san francisco eaters are interested in cuisine. there adventuress. the fact theyuse grea use great ingredients and make gourmet food makes unpopular. >> i have been dying to have these. >> i have had that roach coach experience. it is great they're making food they can trust. >> have you decided? >> we are in the thick of the
competition? >> my game was thrown off because they pulled out of my first appetizer choice. >> how we going to crush clear? >> it will be easy. probably everyone has tried, something bacon tell us delicious. >> -- people tell us is delicious. >> hopefully you think the same thing. >> hopefully i am going to win. we're in the financial district. there is a food truck right there. every day changes. it is easy and fun to go down. these are going to be really good. >> how are you going to dominate? >> i think he does not know what he is doing. >> i was thinking of doing
[unintelligible] we are underrepresented. >> i was singing of starting an irish pub. that was my idea. >> one our biggest is the corned beef and cabbage. we are asking people what they're thinking in getting some feedback. >> for a lot of people i am sure this combination looks very wrong. it might not sound right on paper but when you taste it to or have it in your mouth, it is a variety. this is one of the best ways in creating community. people gather around and talk about it and get to know different cultures. that brings people together and i hope more off the grid style and people can mingle and interact and remove all our differences and work on our
similarities. this creates opportunity. >> the time has come and i am very hungry. what have you got? >> i got this from on the go, a sandwich, and a caramel cupcake. i went with home cooking. what de think? >> i will have another bite. >> sounds good. >> that was fantastic. let's start with you. >> i had the fried mac and cheese, and twinkies. i wanted to get something kind
of classic with a twist on it. >> it was crispy. >> i will admit. >> want to try fieried mac and cheese? >> was that the best twinkie? >> would you say you had the winning male? >> definitely. >> no. >> you are the "chompion." clair has won. you are the first "chompion." >> they know it iwas me because i got a free meal. and